Christ's Victory over Death

Christ's Victory over Death

Christ's Victory over Death

Seer, alle Mennesker! I usle Dødelige!
Hvor stort et Haab I har i de indvortes Krige.
    Seer til Forsoneren. Med Lyst betragter ham,
    Det høyst-uskyldige, taalmodige Guds Lam.
I tør for Døden nu ey meere være bange;
Thi han har undertraad den gamle tredske Slange.
    Han har fra Helvede borttaget Seyeren,
    Samt brækket Dødens Braad og aabnet Himmelen.
Naar I nu Troen har paa denne Igienløser,
Og af hans Naade-Flod ved Bønnens Hænder øser:
    Saa har ey Døden Magt, at skade Eders liv,
    Og Himmel-Tanker da er Eders Tidsfordriv.
Enhver udi sin Stand og Kald kand være roelig,
Og ikke frygte tør for Gravens mørke Boelig,
    Naar han forliger sig ved daglig Bod med Gud.
    Lad da kun Livets Lys, naar Herren vil, gaae ud.
Men hvo, som stedse om blant Verdens Tummel sværmer,
Og i Døds-Tanker ey ved Bøn til Gud sig nærmer,
    Den bliver Døden fæl og høyst-forskrækkelig,
    Og han seer ingen Sted, hvor han kand skiule sig.
O! at vi vilde dog betænke Livets Ende:
Saa Viisdoms Aand et Lys udi os kunde tænde,
    Og at vi kunde see de store Ting, som Gud
    Af Naade haver gjort imod sin kiære Brud.
See, all humans! you miserable mortals!
How great a hope you have in the inner wars.
    Look at the Redeemer. Contemplate him with pleasure,
    the most innocent, patient lamb of God.
You no longer need to fear Death;
Because he has trampled down the old wily snake(1).
    He has taken away the victory from Hell,
    and broken the sting of Death(2) and opened Heaven.
When you have faith in this Redeemer,
and scoops from his flow of mercy with the hands of prayer:
    Then Death has no power to harm your life,
    and heaven-thoughts are then your pastimes.
Everybody can be calm in his rank and calling,
and doesn't have to fear for the dark dwelling of the grave(3),
    when he becomes reconciled, by daily penance, to God.
    Let then the candle of life, when the Lord wishes it, go out.
But he who constantly crowd around the bustle of the world,
and in death-thoughts doesn't approach God in prayer,
    for him death will be foul and most terrible,
    and he will see no place where he can hide.
O! that we would consider the end of life:
So that the spirit of wisdom could light a candle in us,
    and that we could see the great things that God
    out of mercy has done to his dear bride.(4)

* * * *

Klart er det, at enhver med Døden bort skal dandse;
Men høyst-beklageligt, at saa det ville sandse.
    Hver Skiønsom Siæl! betænk, at Kiødet kaldes Høe.
    See Christi Seyer an. Tak Gud, for du maae døe.
It's clear that everybody must dance away with Death;
But most regrettable to realize it.
    Every judicious soul! Consider that the flesh is called hay.(5)
    Look at Christ's victory. Thank God, that you must die.

Die menschliche sterblichkeit
Meyer 1650: Die menschliche sterblichkeit

The picture seems to be copied from Rudolf and Conrad Meyer's Die menschliche sterblichkeit, unter dem titel Todten-tanz from 1650.

Footnotes: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

. . .trampled down the old wily snake: As the picture clearly shows. A reference to Romans 16:20, »And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly«.

By the way: Death was boasting that he was a messenger of God. He's certainly getting a nasty treatment from his former employer.

The Bible reference is 1st Corinthian 15:26-28: »The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all«.

See the page about the original sin.

victory and sting: It appears that we are still in 1st Corinthian 15 - this time it's verse 55: »O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?«
Dark dweling of the grave: A reference to a Danish hymn.
Man/the congregation as God's bride: Isaiah, chapter 62,5: »For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee«.

By the way: I wonder what the Bible means by ».... so shall thy sons marry thee«? Doesn't it sound a bit strange? The Danish version is "[…] so shall thy builder marry thee:«, which makes a lot more sense and is more apropos to the text.

Another example is Revelations 19,7; »[…] for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready«.

Flesh is called hay in the old Danish Bibles. In the more recent editions - and in the English Bibles - flesh is called "grass", Isaiah, chapter 40,6: "The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field«.

This is one of the Bible quotes that has inspired the portraying of Death as The Reaper with a scythe.


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